Thursday, 9 March 2023

Not everyone is in scarlet...

 While most of the British full-dress uniform of the Victorian era was scarlet, not all units were thus dressed and the rifle units wear a dark-green, almost black, dress uniform. The Canadian militia, closely following the home-country's example, would wear their parade ground attire, having no other, onto the Canadian Prairies for the Northwest Rebellion campaign in 1885.  These riflemen are my conversions from Perry plastic Union American Civil War miniatures with mostly just a head change using the Perry 'Home Service' helmets or creating glengarries from green-stuff.  The bases are made from a home-made styrene sheet from empty sprues melted in acetone. The log marker, also on one of these home-made bases, indicates the "suppressed" status for the unit.  It is still a visible reminder for the players, yet blending into the terrain.

In the background is a dice tray created specifically for the collection as it matches the terrain mat. It looks inconspicuous on the tabletop hiding as a field.  

Tuesday, 7 March 2023

Painting style changes

Like your choice in clothing, hair style, heck, even type of underwear, your style of painting can change over time. The latest new army I painted is a "Anglo-Saxon" Dark Age. With all the hype for contrast paints recently,  I went that route but even more so in just using inks to do the job. I primered light grey, dry-brushed heavily in white then applied the inks. 
deployed for action in a recent game at a fellow gamers house.

The figures are Old Glory 28mm (love em or hate them...) which I picked up on a good sale and which provided a 24 point Lion Rampant "task force". Thinking of the printer ink cartridge concept of using only blue, yellow and red colors which, when mixed can provide most colors one would want (yes, yes, excepting white which, would be limited in the dark ages - pun intended or not...) I went about as quick as possible to create this tabletop collection. From primer to completion of basing was only 10.5 hours so c.10 minutes a figure. As this is not my usual wargaming era, so not that much wasted time completing this collection. However, I very much like the effect, and while not my usual style, my "contrast style" works with these figures quite nicely I think. 

With the idea of new styles of painting, I took a picture of some of my very first wargame figures I painted including a Minifig 25mm Duchy of Nassau (Napoleonic) of 1976 and a 25mm Minifig Parthian in the glorious gloss c1981. You can contrast these to current figures in my collections seen below in a recent game. 

As my eyesight goes, I will probably be more and more careless about the preciseness of it all and go for the easiest of styles, but it is interesting that there is quite a few different ways to paint the little buggers.....

Monday, 20 February 2023

Alamo - a scenario everyone knows

The Alamo.  Everyone has heard of it.  Famous enough that Tom Hanks in "Saving Private Ryan" can say it and the movie makers didn't even feel compelled to explain its meaning.  Modern Texans, and indeed all Americans flock to its remnants with the feeling it was a significant victory.  It was not...well for the Texicans anyway.  And when you are to enjoy playing the game and become the defenders, you know what the expected end will be.  

Nate's very nice and practical home-made model in 15mm.

I took a road trip to Vancouver Island and had a great Alamo game hosted by NateS.  DavidB who graciously provided my room and board, was my fellow Texican. Nate's very nice model of the Alamo made from solid wood and foamcore in 15mm scale formed the excellent backdrop to the thinly distributed defenders. 

Mexicans over the wall!

The rules were nice and 'convention' simple but did allow the Texicans to shoot better but allowed the Mexicans better melee factor - when they finally could come to grips.  The superior numbers of the Mexicans finally pushed the Texicans off the walls and into the compound which sealed their fate. DavidB and I could claim a 'moral victory' by eliminating 2/3 the Mexican assault force, at approximately a 2:1 ratio.  Wargaming is one of those activities that, when even losing, you can have great fun and enjoyment...but still cursing the dice, of course!

"Well, gal' dern it!"  The last of the Texicans.

Monday, 6 February 2023

Nest hunting on Folium III

 Yeah, OK, a Xenos Rampant game using ex-GW plastic Catachans as "Palaeoeversors" (my very poor Latin of "Old Thing Killers" [as in Palaeolithic as the Raptors being Hollywood dinosaurs and all...] ) with blue skin verses Wizkids Raptors.  Think aqua-tinted Schwarzenegger-ian Commandos with big guns in Jurassic Park.  These rather silly GW plastics were, unbeknown to me, on the bottom of an inexpensive box of Bring-and-Buy Zulus(!). Once discovered would be built but ultimately unpainted until recently, brought to life by these new rule's possibilities and a new contrast painting style.

The "Palaeoeversors" were painted, for me, in a new technique Contrast-ish using inks which proved relatively fast and effective. Much different from my usual style. Teaching an old doug new tricks? (I state somewhat reluctantly:  see previous post for closer views)

The game went surprisingly well as the players using my 'Blue Boys' expressed doubt as to their success early in the game.  Despite big losses, the two friends finally co-operated and realized that firepower was the key... after discovering that the Raptors needed to go into line of sight BEFORE activating to Wild Charge the next turn. This allowed a turn of fire before the Raptor's claws could do some severe damage [with their activation roll requirements of course!]. The Paleoeversors managed to gain the objective of eliminating a Raptor nest AND taking out all four Raptors. While it was certainly a Pyrrhic victory, it was a close run thing.

Saturday, 28 January 2023

Various Games

This post is a bit of a photo summary of the various collections and play in the past while. ("various" is a definite theme of my hobby) .


A practice game for the boys as we set up for a “One Week Campaign”.  This was a 1805 scenario from a Shako rules scenario book but readily enough converted to our home-brew set.  It was fought over the holidays period during a day our gaming group all had available.

Prussians advance

overview of the battle with French in the distance holding off the Coalition forces waiting for the Italians to come in from the flank but across a river and through a woods

Italians make their way encouraged by the commander. The small black dice represent current combat strength.

A Canadian Affair:

Not really noted for armed conflict fought on its own soil, Canada did have the Northwest Rebellion during 1885. Certainly not much of an affair, but does offer inspiration for small skirmish scenarios.  That the rebellious Metis and native Cree choose set piece battles obviously outnumbered by the Canadian Militia forces rather than ambush and hit-and-run is interesting. Solo play using “The Men Who Would Be Kings” rules with half-ish unit sizes - usually the Metis have no figures on the table at all. (as I don't have any...)

Canadian militia advance upon a suspected Metis position across the creek.  (Perry ACW plastics mostly with new headdress additions - either their Home Service helmets or my 'green-stuff' glengarries.

Northwest Mounted Police in 'full dress', cross the stream on the dry open prairie.  Perry ACW plastic cavalry converted with new arms, heads and detailing.

Sinai, 1956:

Result of an estate sale, I came in possession of 15mm T-34s and Shermans. I have no other armour of that scale and those two particular model of tanks did not fight each other during WW2….but I did discover that during the Suez Crisis, clashes occurred between Egyptian and Israeli forces using those respective vehicles. Using “What a Tanker” rules.  

Egyptian and Israeli tank forces clash near a Sinai village. The destroyed Sherman is a result of my putting on the two-part tracks incorrectly.  By the time I discovered my error the glued had melded the parts together as to create too much damage while trying to pull them apart; thus INCREASED the damage to create this terrain obstacle.

The fingers are handling my conversion of a straight up Sherman into the Israeli M-50 (Super Sherman)
I used the WW2 "Sherman Firefly" stats which I think replicate the power of the gun for the game.
Noticeably in WaT, tabletop distances between tanks become very close indeed.(note my Israeli tank colour is much less green than my camera would suggest!) 

“On Folium III”  

On a distance verdant planet, humaniods long exposed to an enzyme which turns the skin a blue hue and creates over-developed muscles, fight ‘Raptors’ a reptilian species especially deadly and aggressive. Think: Schwarzenegger as a “Rouge Trooper” in Jurassic Park.

Using new “Xenos Rampant” rules. 

old style 40K "Catachans" recently painted using inks. 

"Oh sh@t!  Where did she come from!" Raptor by Wizkids.  Some time ago I bought 2 packs of these (4 models) as they are VERY nice models BUT had no idea what I was to do with them! However in Xenos Rampant these four can form a potent 'detachment' or table-top force of 24 points by themselves!  

“The ‘Incident’ at the Outpost near Plotnaty”

During sometime in the future, the U.N. was allowed to set up observation posts in the Donbas Region.  But this peace was quickly swept away as the outpost of U.N. blue-clad soldiers were attacked by “Russian” forces.  Used the new “Xenos Rampant” rules.  The “neo-Russian”/old 40K Valhallans mortars (artillery) proved exceedingly (too) powerful but the rest works fairly well.  

After-action photo as,  in the game, the "Russian" units did not need to close assault the outpost. Old-time Valhallan 40K figures painted by me A LONG TIME AGO.

The outpost. My scenario had the three U.N. units randomly placed at tents around the fortified position so not to immediately be in position and so must activate to move or shoot.  However the rule modifications I added gave them no cover at all to oncoming artillery rounds within the outpost and so the bright blue troopers died (too) quickly.  The "U.N Troopers" are old GW Imperial Guard Cadians with symbols removed and given the characteristic United Nations bright colour with camo uniforms.  I gained these, in this case, from the local club's Door Prize winning ticket but had, at the time no need for them nor any want to expand upon them.  Having seen a photo of U.N. troops, I thought to use them as a very small, under armed (no heavy weapons) contingent. They had been sitting, thus painted, in the box for years.  Now with Xenos Rampant I can use them as a complete force.

While not used in the game, I have two fighting vehicles for the Valhallans/Neo-Russians in the form of two 1:35 scale WW2 KVs modified with the ridiculously oversized 40K weaponry.  In this case, should I ever play old style 40K I could use them as a Leman Russ and Chimera respectively.  They are given a sloppy covering of whitewash in keeping with the winter Russian-y theme.

Saturday, 17 December 2022

Terrain up

 When asking "What have you been up to?" to the wargamer, the inference is usually "What have you been painting?"  And fair enough, as that is the big chore for most miniature wargamers. But I have tried in the past while to work on the terrain aspect of the tabletop.  Using some lightweight but very sturdy poster boards which seem not to warp with water/drying, I can apply terrain in large areas. Thus I can indulge in creating mini terrain boards of building complexes or fields.

As with the recent posts I usually scratch build out of whatever material is at hand.  Foamcore and coffee stir-sticks are my go-to from which I built a farm house and put together with a small sample of rather realistic looking astro-turf as a crop.

The field utilized some of the "straw" fences previously built but as they were very susceptible to knock over or damage, added them permanently to a layer of plaster for a medieval/renaissance field.

These took the afternoon to accomplish while I listened to wargamer podcasts some of which content complained about the lack of "appropriate" terrain on the average tabletop!

Finally over the week or so, needed some added "jungle" for placement on jungle-print neoprene mats bought a while back.  Not really sure I like the look of the printed mats and they certainly look worse in the photos.  The jungle is, of course, the every popular aquarium plastic plants which were embedded in leftover chunks of styrofoam covered by ground up natural lichen and moss.  As the weather is rather not conducive to the spraying of matt greens to lessen the 'glossy effect' of the plastic, that must wait til spring. 

Poor 'Ieko' with his lunge-mine chasing an Australian Matilda tank somewhere in South-East Asia. While he did manage to hit the tank, he did no damage to the tank...but of himself?...say no more...
The leafy print on the mat is over-scale and not that convincing.  I might sell the mat and just build more jungle.

Again poor "Ieko" this time exposing himself to the rifle fire from the accompanying Australian infantry  - in the background - during the second game with the boys on Friday night. The first rifle bullet put a big hole in his shoulder, the second mortally.  The jungle bits look a bit better in this angle. The non-commercial made body of water was purchased at a convention years ago forms a very nice terrain piece. This open ground allowed for "Joey's" fine shooting. - a rare night of good dice rolls by me!

Saturday, 10 December 2022

HYW 3-way(ish) scenario

French with mounted knights approach from the west, the Dunkirque contingent from the bottom, the English longbow on the hills near the village. The tower is just visible on the top of the photo.

Miniature wargaming is, well, a game.  Yes, it can represent a historical battle with surprise attacks, mismatched forces, and lop-sided results; however, in the usual games with friends at the end of a hard week at work, a frustrating "That was un-winnable!" scenario is probably the last thing desired.  Mine you personally I don't have a problem with those...and my dice rolling usually give me that result anyway!

The mismatch is all the more difficult to remove should there be only three players. Most (All?) battles are one side vs the other.  Therefore, how is the simple army vs army be done should the evening have three participants?  To give enough per side to get a game in and everyone have enough to command is a challenge.  Thought must be given to other considerations of terrain restrictions, defensive works, command abilities of the rules to provide a more even combat abilities for each side.

Decided to bring out the Hundred Years War (Crecy era) collection and provide the English (PeterM) with enough units to command in a central defensive position to fend off myself attacking with the Dunkerque contingent and a force of French under CraigM.  The French had a cannon on the far side, pounding the English tower with a cannon and defended by a small group of men-at-arms.

the village with the English defenders and the bridges across the stream.

Do you, the reader and sometimes gamesmaster,  get any pre-game discussions which start with, "what about the terrain?, what is light woods and which are heavy?, is the river crossable?, at which points?, are the fields open or rough ground?" sent to you in rapid fire questioning at the start of every game?  Obviously some need to be discussed but the question of fordability has always been one of those sore points with me. When a player asks about the, say, eight feet of river sections on the table stretching the entire table, would the army even know?  I would say "I don't know, find it yourself"; and getting, yes, the inevitable response of " Umm, how?" In this case I had the player disperse one of his units, the Bidower Woodmen, to sections he wanted to cross and roll for success. This unit would be lost to him due to this deployment.   He did the difficult rolls sucessfully to allow a portion of his army to cross rather than the bridge to his front.  As a GM, make it difficult, time consuming, and troop costly for the player to obtain such information, as just in real-life.  Lots of battles are a result of unknown terrain influencing affairs.  For example, American Civil War Corps commander Burnside kept feeding in troops to cross a well-defended bridge not knowing there was a crossing point of the Antietam Creek only a short distance away from which the defending force could be outflanked.  Tell that location in advance to the player whose army has never been to the location ahead of time certainly changes the subsequent action in the game.

Nevertheless in this game the French had a crossing point in addition to the obvious bridge.  The tower was improbably destroyed early with Craig's remarkably high dice rolling activations [ gunpowder cannon are not in the Lion Rampant rules,  so I would have the cannon activate on ever more difficult activation rolls theoretically limiting the number of shots during the game but his lucky dice allowed him to have successive firing rolls quickly gaining the pre-determined but unknown amount of hits to inflict upon the tower to bring it down. I allowed the number of dice this hidden amount would be based upon to be known, and Peter, ever the statistician, worked out exactly when to move out of the tower with a hidden(*) unit before this might occur. - note to self: keep unknown rolls unknown! 

 Interestingly we rolled to see how the tower would collapse: points of the compass with a d6 and if any 6 rolled per each figure would result in its demise.  Only one of Peter's troops was killed by a falling stone.  It was suggested that if I made the pip number a 1, he would have lost far more.  All game long, Peter and I were competing for the 'poorest dice roller' award.  We did agree however that he won that dubious honour.  

Mid-battle and the French knights are taking a scenic route to the tower, the knights are out of the tower minus one of their number (top of image), and the clash for the hill position has begun with my Dunkirque mixed weapon foot units (lower right)

(*) the tower (see previous post link) has a removable roof and I endeavoured to hide some knights within for Peter's use.  Craig, rather clumsily, knocked it over, revealing the hidden troops.  Well done reconnaissance or perfidious fortune?  Oh, that,  and the resultant "how YOU are to prevent it getting knocked over in the future" engineering discussion.....

Friday, 2 December 2022

Inspired by La Haie Sainte

 Inspired by the famous farmhouse in the Battle of Waterloo, and with a brick imprinting roller purchased by happenstance from the local hobby store, I set about to create my version of a Belgian farmhouse from pieces of foamcore, card, and sheets cut from those styrofoam meat trays from the supermarket - served both in black and white.  These give you a cheap means of thin walls of brick to work with although the 'gate tower' used a one thick piece insolation pink foam which makes a better/deeper impressed pattern (softer material undoubtedly).

For good or bad I tend not to use precise measurements and simply suggest "it's close enough"  (my wife states it is "The Tao of Doug"). Well, what's 1 or 2mm off, going to make a difference.... Obviously no real planning and certainly missteps in the design and execution.   I probably should fill in some of the corners and such but I tend to get too excited or impatient or dis-inspired to bother.  When the rest comes together I regret the negligence. The tao-ism it must be said.   However, it is the old-timey way and inexpensive, and it may be said in a sadistic way, fun part of the hobby. 

                                                                Early construction views:


Initial painting:

                                                                 Final result:                                                   

French dismounted dragoons (Perry plastics) advancing upon the farm defended by Brunswicker lights in the courtyard (converted Perry British Napoleonics) and Brunswicker Jagers in light grey (converted from Perry early ACW plastics). The farm will undoubtedly form the centerpiece for many of my Waterloo campaign games.


Saturday, 19 November 2022

New Napoleonic units- Duchy of Baden

Finally got some units painted recently.  Two more Duchy of Baden formations. These are HaT 28mm figures originally late Prussian infantry.  HaT has a limited range of 28mm in hard plastic in addition to their usual 1:72 scale. The heads seem too small for the wargamers 28mm so spare Perry heads were added which brings them more in line with the rest of my collection. 

The Badener Lights in green wearing both their 1813 shako (left) and some with earlier helmets (right).  The Baden Grenadier Guard are on the right wearing their full-dress bearskin headdress.  

Sunday, 13 November 2022

"The Redoubt" Beach Landing

At one point Peter's British in the Redoubt had enemies coming at him from three directions but all the assaults dissipated from my die rolling!

Prompted by fellow wargamer CraigM's pirate campaigning deliberations, I thought a 'Pirate' game might be fun and brought out - for the first time for a game- my tropical beach neoprene mat.  It has a lot of jungle print on it which I sought to cover with dollar store plastic vegetation for the 3D effect. ( really ought to add that to the long list of 'projects' that must be properly done! ) 

I added the focal point of the game with the newly made "redoubt" made from a styrofoam meat tray from the supermarket, inverted and covered in wood putty as a newly built-up cannon platform complete with 3D printed gabions and coffee-stir stick flooring.

The Redoubt with the British gunners - and Peter - trying to determine if the troops landing were allied Portuguese or enemy Spanish - I had flags for both!

the styrofoam meat tray frame for the redoubt

I made the scenario a three-way fight for the three of us, using for the most part a Dungeon Master roleplaying approach with PeterM defending the Redoubt and my British Marines, CraigM approaching on shore with Portuguese - actually Spanish (with a flag change ), and myself handing the slaves approaching by jungle and pirates by beach with dice rolls handling their activations and activities.  Due to the random activities - and with MY dice rolling - not much happened to have the various contingents come to blows other than long range fire,  so casualties were surprisingly light - not many figures were removed.  More the fact that my activation rolls for the three slave units were SO abysmal that the only mischief they achieved was to loot only half the British camp before running back into the jungle!

the slaves looting the camp only to leave shortly thereafter apparently not will to risk any more.

CraigM's Spanish managed getting to the beach after much trouble;  the surf must have been very rough indeed only to exchange a few ineffective shots with the British before departing back to their ship to defend it against a pirate boarding party.  The pirates meanwhile having another group land on the beach had many possible targets with to engage; BUT, again, with my rather low dice rolling, merely left as they came and without engaging.  

CraigM's troops finally are getting on shore.  And yes tropical waters can be that colour....

While this would suggest a rather dull affair but with the doubts, randomness of activities, and differing objectives, we found it entertaining nevertheless.

Friday, 11 November 2022

Ruined Temple of ???

the Hellenistic pike next to "the temple".  I didn't realize I also photographed my markers for those units which have "legged it".  The chopped off legs are remnants of my plastic constructions and might make these as useful indicators for other rules.....

 Having done a "Roman Temple" and a Celtic Roundhouse for those respective armies, I thought I might need to make a corresponding Ancient Hellenistic something.  So a while back now - having just found these photos deep within the memory card - I put together a temple based on a small photo within a travel promotional pamphlet.  It is constructed out of a piece of foam core, pieces of styrofoam and card with columns made from very old cardboard tampon applicators.... Needless to say, my wife, now well past that stage of womanhood was surprised, firstly, she had given or that I had asked for such items, and, secondly, I had kept them for these many years!  

after a quick primer, colour of the styrofoam and card still visible.

Certainly no prize winning example, but it was a very quick build - no more than an hour and a half from first cut to finished painting, having primered it shortly after gluing and then painting it immediately after that.  

Added some terrain basing which helps the look of it.  Interestingly, the paint color of the "stone" has not changed from the first photo to this, however the camera certainly has noticed a difference!